World Energy and Climate Policy, 2009 Assessment

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In the run up to Copenhagen, The World Energy Council addresses the industry's view on the challenges in COP 15 with the publication of this report.

Energy and climate are inextricably linked. With more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the energy and energy services sectors, changes in climate are increasingly seen as a product of energy sector activities. Without solutions from the energy sector, there will not be an adequate restraint to climate change.

Energy touches on many policy areas; the need for energy equity among the 1.6 billion people in the world who lack access to modern energy. Energy and energy services are the drivers for modern economies and electricity is the keystone of the digital age. However, no challenge is more difficult to handle than climate change, which requires a world-wide commitment to a strong reduction of CO2 emissions.

Energy, and its interconnections with climate, security and economic development, needs to be coordinated from a strong central government department, headed by a senior minister, rather than by multiple stakeholders.

In order to accelerate the move toward global energy equity and security, and environmental sustainability, over 90 member committees of the World Energy Council and their constituent members have conducted a yearly assessment of their own energy policies and practices. This first survey was conducted after considerable thought about the framework within which to conduct the survey, and the methodology to be used.

Analysis of the survey leads to three overall conclusions:

A. The presence of strong enabling factors such as institutions, healthcare and education is essential to having energy policies that are effective in practice. Without these enabling factors, even the best policies will not have the intended result.

B. For every country the quality of infrastructure and the degree of innovation in turn enable effective energy policy, as for example policies to develop and enforce a strong rule of law in Sweden and Switzerland.

C. However, for lower income countries, early attention to social issues, such as education and a minimum level of economic equity, is a good indicator of whether any energy policy is likely to be effective. Without basic equity, tariffs are not paid and markets do not work.

See www.worldenergy.org/publications/

WEC members and their country committees understand there are important connections between equity, security, and environmental sustainability with energy as the common element. The current economic crisis magnifies these connections. More importantly, everyone shares in the costs. This leads to the necessity for new forms of governance to deal with all energy and economic goals in concert.

A positive and international response is urgently needed.

"It is critical in a time of great change to identify and benchmark policies and to distinguish successful and less effective policies. We need to ensure that our thoughts and actions can shape the new world of energy and build a path to a more sustainable energy future", says Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council.

The entire report is available online at:

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